Postcrossing…I’m back!

I hadn’t sent postcards via Postcrossing in a looooonnnnng time, so I sent out a bunch a few weeks ago simply because I was in the mood to write postcards. I dropped into the “Goin’ Postal” store minutes away from my home and mailed an eclectic set of postcards based on receivers’ varied interests in tourist postcards, bookish postcards, coffee and indigenous peoples of the Americas…some in envelopes, some naked (written on and stamped).  Here’s what I sent–

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I checked my P.O. Box  yesterday and the postcards have started rolling in.  They are just as varied as the ones I sent out…

Czestochowa.  Aleja N.M.P.

Czestochowa. Aleja N.M.P.

This first card came from Misia in Poland.  This is the Avenue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Czestochowa.  I know this–thanks to Google’s translation tool. 😉

Ainika from Estonia sent a cute Snoopy card:

Postcrossing Received 06-26-14

Translation: “You don’t need many friends, but you need good friends!”

A little out of season, but I think Ainika was focusing on the message.  Besides, Peanuts cuteness is always in season as far as I’m concerned!

And more cuteness from Cesar in Spain, Palencia to be exact. He describes his home as “a small city full of art and crossed by the road to Santiago.”

Translation:  Fievel Goes West

Translation: Fievel Goes West

I remember watching An American Tail and Fievel Goes West with my one of my nephews–who is now 24, grown and married–and I’ve been partial to Fievel since some college buddies told me I look like him (and therefore, started calling me “Mousey”).

I love this illustration:

Rudi Hurlzmeier, "Noch'n Gedicht. Illustration from the Lord Brummel

Rudi Hurlzmeier, “Noch’n Gedicht.” Illustration from Lord Brummel

A bear reading outdoors under a tree?  How many of my favorites can you cram into one image?

Google translate didn’t help much with this one.  I think “Noch’n Gedicht” means “another poem” or something along those lines.  Please correct me, if I’m wrong.  Oh, don’t be fooled. This card did not come from Germany.  It was sent by USA Postcrosser Jane in Kansas City.

Another book-themed postcard came from Don who sends greetings from New Jersey (USA):

Glen Baxter, from the Bug House Archives

Glen Baxter, from the Bug House Archives

And last, another from the USA–Brad sent this wonderful snail mail postcard from Pennsylvania Amish Country.

Pennsylvania Amish Country, Photo by Anthony L. Iezzi

Pennsylvania Amish Country, Photo by Anthony L. Iezzi

Brad is retired and gets to study photography and art all day!  He also has a website that reflects his passion for postcards.  Check it out here:  The Postcard Nut.

What can make great postcards even better?  Interesting postage and postmarks, of course!  (Click an image for a closer look).


The Lamb, the Tyger, and the Lion

I was organizing files last week and ran across an interesting drawing done by a student in a Survey of English Literature course. The assignment was to artistically interpret two of William Blake’s poems (companion pieces from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience).  Students could use any medium, and they were assured of full credit regardless of skill level. I was more interested in their effort and their enjoyment.   I imagine I was a little confused when I first saw the sketch below:

"The Tyger" by Charmaine W., EN 212 Spring 2013

“The Tyger” by Charmaine W., EN 212 Spring 2013

This piece is based on “The Lamb” from Songs of Innocence and “The Tyger” from Songs of Experience–poems that speak of two different aspects of the God of Creation and that lead readers to the realization that the God who crafted the innocent lamb is also the God who put the fire in the tiger’s eye, and that this same God embodies those meek and fierce attributes Himself.

But…um…that’s a lion, not a “tiger.”

Charmaine was cute, though.   She added a note to the back of the drawing labeled “artistic license.” Her explanation is that this still represents a visual interpretation of the “contrary” poems since Jesus is both lion and lamb–animals obviously perceived as having very different characteristics. And indeed, she is correct. Jesus is described as the Lion of Judah and the [Sacrificial] Lamb.

I ran into Charmaine a couple of days ago and let her know that I rediscovered her drawing.  We both laughed because it was after she drew the lion that she realized it should have been a tiger.  While she got the drawing “wrong,” she was accurate in visualizing what Blake would have questioned as contrary conceptualizations of God.  He is not one or the other, but both at the same time, and thus (perhaps) something other.

The assignment was inspired by Blake’s own illustrated works.  I wanted students to do more than read the poems and look at the pretty images.  I wanted them to deeply connect with Blake’s works. Sometimes that connection comes not through written critique or analysis but through creative work.  They have to understand the work(s) enough to render an honest visual interpretation.

Here are Blake’s own images of the two poems:

Enjoy and have a happy week!



Where IS Waldo?

Thanks to his subscriptions to High Five and Highlights magazines since he was a wee tot, my little one loves “hidden pictures” activities, so it’s always an extra treat when we receive Where’s Waldo? postcards.  Happy mail and a fun activity all in one!

Where’s Waldo is the series of children’s books by British illustrator Martin Handford.  Because “before child” I really wasn’t into “Waldo,” I learned from the postcards that Waldo is Wally outside of the United States and Canada.  I can’t figure out, though, why marketers (I assume) thought the moniker “Waldo” would be more acceptable to U.S. and Canadian readers than “Wally.” They’re about the same to me!

I received these postcards through various swaps–Postcrossing, “Postcards from a Book,” “5 Partners,” and most recently a “Children’s Book Illustration” swap. So I’m sharing them with you–not just so you can envy my mail but so you can have a little fun to break the monotony or tedium of a long day.  If you happen to have kids nearby, let them join the fun! 🙂

"The Deep Sea Divers" scene from Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey, Martin Handford

“On Tour With the Vikings,” scene from Where’s Wally Now? by Martin Handford. Postcard from Natasa (Australia).

Click the image to view larger and find:

  • Three tongues sticking out
  • Eight red shields
  • Four Vikings wearing cloaks

“Once Upon a Page,” scene from Where’s Waldo? The Wonder Book by Martin Handford. Postcard from Andie (Texas, USA).

Click the image to view larger and find:

  • A dragon with a scarf
  • Henry VIII and his wives
  • George Washington
"The Deep-Sear Divers," scene from Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey by Martin Handford

“The Deep-Sear Divers,” scene from Where’s Waldo? The Fantastic Journey by Martin Handford. Postcard from Kate (Portland, USA)

Click the image to view larger and find:

  • A false shark fin
  • A bottle in a message
  • Fifteen fishing rods
"The Battle of the Bands," scene from Where's Wally The Wonder Book by Martin Handford

“The Battle of the Bands,” scene from Where’s Wally? The Wonder Book by Martin Handford.  Postcard from Martin (Germany).

Click the image to view larger and find:

  • A steel band
  • A one-man band
  • Saxophones and a sack of phones
"Ski Slopes," scene from Where's Waldo? Illustration by Martin Handford

“Ski Slopes,” scene from Where’s Waldo? Illustration by Martin Handford.  Postcard from Keri (USA).

Click the image to view larger and find:

  • A snowman on skis
  • Someone taking a photo
  • A young girl without her skates

Haven’t had enough Wally/Waldo fun? Check out the Where’s Waldo website  for more search adventures!

Leave a comment below and I’ll send you a Waldo postcard! (Offer good while supplies last, of course).

Beachy Bears

We’ve had thunderstorms almost every day for the last two or three weeks, but no worries! Two “fun in the sun” postcards arrived in my mailbox to counter the gloom.  I hosted a couple of postcard swaps for the Teddy Bear Dreamers group on swap-bot.  I was expecting a bit of a cute overload in my mailbox, but I wasn’t expecting both of my partners to send beach-themed postcards.

Evieroz sent the card below:

TB PCs received 06-14

Merbears by Evieroz

I’m pretty sure this one was made using the Teddy Bear Parade Cricut cartridge.  The mermaid bears are adorable. I really like the color scheme and the arrangement of the elements.

Evieroz also customized the back of the postcard:

TB PCs received 06-14-1

Postcard Back

The other postcard was sent by one of my favorite swap-bot pals, Denimblu14 (Db14):

"Summer Holidays," Photograph by Irene Thomspon

“Summer Holidays,” Photo by Irena Thompson, Bears and Toys from Irena’s Collection

Did you notice the American and British alliance between these beach bears? Teddy bears are a bit more political than we think!

Db14 always sends uber-cute teddy bear themed items.  (She sent the most adorable teddy bear bookmark calendar and other cute items to me for Christmas/the New Year).  If you’re a “close” blog follower, you might recognize the photographer’s work from another post, which offers even more teddy bear sweetness.  You’ll also see that Db14 usually uses delightful teddy bear themed postage. Look at the fabulous Paddington Bear postage included with this one–

TB PCs received 06-14-4

Paddington Bear Postage, England

Paddington might be my all-time favorite teddy bear.  Or is it Classic Pooh?


Blossoms Today…Gone Tomorrow

Winter seemed endless, but spring is leaving (read: has left) all too quickly.  We still have about 2.5 weeks until the “official” beginning of summer, but we’ve been feeling 90 (or near 90) degree temperatures here in Northern Alabama for a few weeks now.  We won’t even mention the humidity!

Spring is far too short for a person like me.  I do not like long, cold winters, and the only thing I like about long, hot summers is remaining indoors with the air conditioning.

Nearly two months ago, I celebrated the mild temperatures of spring with a photo walk around campus.  I referred to this walk near the end of a previous post–it began with failed tulip photos (probably because I wasn’t willing to get down and dirty–literally). Even though the tulips disappointed me, I’m pleased with the pretty blossoms I captured.

Cherry Blossom by Me, April 2014

“Cherry Blossom: Oakwood in the Spring”, April 2014

I’m so happy I decided to take a walk that particular day because a few days later, when I took a walk to the campus market, the blossoms were G-O-N-E!

The dogwood “blossoms” were on their way out too.  I altered the photo (below) with a grunge overlay because I’m using it as part of a gift. Shhhh…don’t tell.

Dogwood by Me, April 2014

“Dogwood,” April 2014

A week or so after I photographed the dogwood I received this beautiful photo postcard from Rebecca, my swap-bot pal and colleague in academia.

“Dogwood in Arkansas” by Rebecca R., Spring 2014

Rebecca captured her photo in early April, probably around the same time I shot mine!  How cool is that!  Like me, Rebecca carries her camera (almost) everywhere.  I’ll have to share some of her other beauties in a post soon–maybe, my next post.

Here are two more photos from my early April photo walk:

Pretty in Pink, April 2014

“Pretty in Pink,” April 2014

I have no idea what this tree is called–and frankly, I’m too lazy at the moment to find out.  It rests near “my building” and goes through a number of beautiful transitions throughout the year.

Pretty in Pink (even closer), April 2014

“Pretty in Pink II,” April 2014

Finally, here’s a pear blossom tree I shot on a March afternoon while running errands:

Pear Blossom, March 2014

“Pear Blossom,” March 2014

I am so grateful for earth’s casting off the dull, hard covering of late winter and showing off the revival of her beauty.  I will be enjoying this display all summer long.  Through photographs.  Indoors. In my air conditioned home.

One More!

What, Chandra Lynn?  A blog post two days in a row?!  Unheard of! Well, here’s the deal. We checked our P.O. Box for the first time in two or three weeks and there was a postcard waiting for me–

"Lavender," by Laurie, Silverbird Photography

“Lavender,” by Laurie, Silverbird Photography

The last of my Liberate Your Art 2014 “extra” swap postcards!  This one’s from Laurie of Silverbird Photography.  Pretty, pretty lavender.  Something about the marriage of purple and green is so appealing to me!  I met Laurie through WordPress. She left a heartfelt message shortly after my sister’s passing.  I am ever grateful for people like her who reach out and deeply touch the lives of others without realizing it.

You must check out Laurie’s blog, Shooting Glass in the Garden. She truly creates “color poems” as her site address declares:

More Art Liberated

A few of us had extra postcards from the Liberate Your Art swap and we were all too happy to share our extras and keep the party going a little longer.  But, before I share the newest art that came in, here’s the collage Kat Sloma designed in honor of Liberate Your Art 2014.  She created it using several of the postcards that were liberated this year through her swap.

"Liberate Your Heart," Kat Sloma, 2014

“Liberate Your Heart,” Kat Sloma, 2014

These posters were sold for a short stint during the LYA 2014 blog hop.  There’s a great deal of truth in the words “When you liberate your art, you liberate your heart.” I usually feel a little more “free” after I’ve released a little part of my creative self into the world–a little anxious, but free.

Kat jotted a quick “thank you” on the back of the postcard she mailed to participants of LYA 2011, the very first LYA. I didn’t find out about LYA until the first swap was over, but now, I have all of Kat’s LYA postcards, so that sort of makes up for my missing #1.

"Vespa," by Kat Sloma, Liberate Your Art 2011

“Vespa,” by Kat Sloma, Liberate Your Art 2011

The first “extra” postcard I received came from Pat.  “Hooray for art” is typeset on the back of her card.

"Seagulls" by Patricia Lyon Surrey

“Seagulls on a River” by Patricia Lyon Surrey

Pat shot this photo in Vermont, where she has lived for almost 40 years, then “enhanced it in PhotoShop.” You can see more of Pat’s work on her site.

Then, I received this lovely watercolor postcard from Sheila.  She sent hers in an envelope with a nice, long note (the note, in my opinion, is the point of happy mail anyway). 😀


“Hydrangeas” by Sheila Delgado

Sheila makes beautiful postcards.  Of course, I’m happy this one is purple, my favorite color! You can find more art on her site, and if you’re interested, you can purchase her watercolor postcards at Sheila’s Corner on Zazzle.

Finally, Janice shared her vintage camera photo.

LYA Bonus and NPCW Received 2014-4

“Vintage Camera,” by Janice Darby

Janice ran out of postcards from this year’s swap, so she sent a postcard from LYA 2013.  Lucky me!  I “heart” photos of vintage cameras and I’d been coveting a journal by San Francisco-based artist/ illustrator Lisa Congdon with designs (quote and vintage camera) in this style, so this one really made me squeal with delight.  Janice wrote a quote about “mail” on the back of the postcard, which made it extra special:

“And none can hear the postman’s knock without a quickening of the heart.  For who can bear to feel himself forgotten.”

And while we’re on the subject of art, I received this beautiful handmade postcard from swap-bot BeckyG56 for a “May Flowers” swap.  I’d recently taken a photo walk around campus to capture the tulips.  I wasn’t pleased with the tulip photos, so this postcard came just in time!

LYA Bonus and NPCW Received 2014-1

“May Flowers” by Becky

Becky made this collaged postcard with images from calendar pages.  Isn’t it bright and cheerful?

That’s it for now.  If you missed the original Liberate Your Art 2014 post, you can check it out here.